February-March 2018 College Readiness Tips

February-March 2018 College Readiness Tips 

This is a busy time of year for juniors. Please help them get ready for college. 

  1. Testing:
    1. Help students develop their testing schedule. SAT. ACT. SAT Subject Tests, AP tests. Plan to take each one, except the AP tests, at least two times this spring. Sophomores and juniors should take subject tests for courses they are taking this year. Don’t have them wait as knowledge slips away.
      1. The ACTs are offered in February, April, and June (and July-except in California and New York State).
      2. The SATs are offered in March, May, and June (and now August).
      3. The SAT Subject tests are offering May and June.
      4. 2. Go to http://www.compassprep.com/admissions_req_subjects.aspx to see which colleges still require SAT Subject Tests.
      5. AP tests are offered only in May.
      6. Learn about fee waivers. They enable students to take each test twice, except AP tests, for free.
      7. Please have your students record their usernames and passwords on computers, cell phones, and emails. Mac users use Stickies or Notes.
      8. More and more schools allow the ACT to cover 2 subject tests. So make sure you know the exact requirements of each college.
      9. Continue or start a test prep class. Princeton Review, http://www.princetonreview.com, offers good beginning classes. Khan Academy offers free SAT test prep. https://www.khanacademy.org/

 2. Senior year schedules: Many schools have kids pick classes for senior year during February and March. Make sure kids do not give up core content areas. Kids need a full schedule that is as hard and challenging as possible. If students give up a foreign language or math—remember that they may have to take placement tests, and these are very hard if students miss a year. Also students need to pick up some other content area—another social science or science.

3. College Visits: Tell students to visit colleges during spring vacation and other school days off. Avoid weekends unless colleges have special weekend programs. Book tours, information sessions, class visits, overnights, interviews, and visits with current students. See our attached tips. See if you can get a bus to visit a couple of local colleges. NACAC college fairs occur around the country this spring.

4. Schools Questionnaires: Many schools have juniors and their parents complete questionnaires. Take these seriously. Never tell negative information about yourself or your child. Spin it into something positive. (That is unless you have a serious issue that you need to explain. If so, talk about who you are now that you have worked through this issue). Think carefully about what you want your counselor to share with colleges.

5. Social Media: Make sure kids make their social media accounts private from now through April, 2019. They should take off their last names as well. Their public accounts should show no information to anyone who is not a friend. Colleges and school college counselors will occasionally check social media. I recommend taking away the last name and just using your first and middle names.

6. Leadership Roles. Please make sure students take on leadership roles in their activities. Colleges are looking for kids who take initiative and who are leaders. They often give merit scholarships based on students’ leadership and initiative. Look for ways to expand current organizations and lead them in new and creative ways.

7. Powerful Summers. Remember colleges expect students to be as busy as possible each summer, especially after junior year. Use summers for taking college classes, working, volunteering, doing an internship, studying for the SAT/ACT. There are great programs for urban kids. Ask your counselor for ideas. Applications are due soon. See our tips for powerful summers.

8. College Research Strategies. Begin developing a college list with at least three categories. Reach. 50-50. Likely. Put whether each college offers merit scholarships by each one. 

  1. Under-represented students can join Strive for College, and get free college mentoring. http://www.striveforcollege.org/
  2. Wintergreen has some reasonably priced maps and other resources to find colleges around the country. http://store.wintergreenstore.com/
  3. The federal government supports the College Navigator—a basic search platform: http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/.
  4. The College Board released the free and easy to use Big Future: https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/
  5. Buy the 2018 Fiske Guide and Steven Antonoff’s College Finder for your classroom. Also get the Strive for College Guide. It comes with free lesson plans.
  6. The Fiske Guide now offers College Count Down, its interactive and amazing website. It has resources students, parents, and educators. http://www.collegecountdown.com/
  7. Get a map of colleges for your wall. https://hedberggroup.com/collections/colleges
  8. Complete campus tours online http://www.ecampustours.com/ or http://www.campustours.com/ give a good overview of the campus, but then plan to visit during Spring Break or Summer vacation.
  9. There is no substitute for an on-campus visit. Go directly to colleges own websites to schedule appointment for tour and information session. See my tips for college visits.
  10. Tell students to sign up for email from colleges they are interested in. Demonstrated interest to them counts! Also find colleges on different social media platforms.
  11. Explore other great college information sites, including Cappex (http://www.cappex.com), College Week Live (http://www.collegeweeklive.com), and Unigo (http://www.unigo.com)




About rjoseph

I am the creator and visionary behind this site. I want to do everything I can to help students consider college as an option, even when they may be the first in their family to go or may not have the funds at hand. Don't let anyone tell you that you don't have the right or the ability to go to college.

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